Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Up and at 'em

It's not often I wake up before 6am on a Monday morning, but noticing that it was already shaping up to be another beautiful day I left Rob sleeping and took the D300 down to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.

Late spring's a funny time for birding at a place like this - the leaves have grown in making it tricky to spot passerines, and the wildfowl population has shrunk down to mostly just breeding birds. Some days it's very hard to see anything much. Today I was a bit luckier.

I returned to the spot near Willow Hide where I'd photographed the singing Reed Warbler the other week. He was still there, but so were at least two others - were they recently fledged young? They were quite dopily sitting around in full view and buzzing their wings in a begging manner, but I couldn't see any sign of yellow gape flanges. They did look slightly short-winged, -billed and -tailed though.

What a little poser. He was a delight to photograph, even going so far as to sitting on a well-exposed reed stem for long spells. Thinking about it, he also looks a bit less white-throated than the singing adult male.

 I waited in that same spot for about half an hour. The regular Cetti's was tormenting me, singing from my left and then somehow from my right without me seeing him fly across, then blasting away with that fruity song almost at my elbow yet impossible to see - then briefly possible to see in the depths of a bush but impossible to focus on. But my patience paid off and I finally got a couple of opportunities to fire off some shots. It's been well over a year since I first heard Cetti's here but I didn't think I'd ever get a decent view, let alone any photos. Happy, happy day :)

As if I hadn't been jammy enough with the Cetti's, this Wren singing in view and at close quarters on the main path to Willow Hide was a real treat. I also got pleasing photos of a very approachable male Blackbird and an agitated Blue Tit with a bill-full of squished green caterpillars, and less pleasing photos of a fine Cinnabar moth.

I'd already packed the camera away when I saw this dragon come and land on a high twig. A look through the bins revealed it to be a female Broad-bodied Chaser. I unpacked the camera again and took a selection of pics from various angles. Each time I moved, she took off but unfailingly returned to the same perch after a short zoom around - a handy behavioural trait of the Libellula dragonflies. That was the end of today's visit. I was home before 8.30am - what a good way to start the day.

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